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British farmers face frightening pumpkin harvest in drought

Your Halloween pumpkin may be a bit squashed this year: British farmers face frightening harvest in drought

  • Summer heatwave has reduced crops from around 15 million to ten million
  • Shoppers will also find that the squash is up to 30 per cent smaller this year
  • Pumpkin growers also hit by labour shortages and rising production costs

Families face Halloween with smaller pumpkins than usual – after a frightening harvest for UK farmers.

The summer heatwave and drought have reduced crops from around 15 million to as few as ten million, experts say.

Shoppers will also find that the squash is up to 30 per cent smaller this year.

Pumpkins are seeded mid-May and need plenty of water to have a ripe harvest for October. But 40C temperatures in July and dry weather stunted the growth of many.

The summer heatwave and drought have reduced pumpkin crops from around 15 million to as few as ten million, experts say. (Stock image)

Pumpkin growers have also been hit by labour shortages and rising production costs. Due to this, the British Growers Association is warning of lower overall yields this Halloween and of pumpkins that are ‘smaller in size’.

Neil Cairns, head of production at Barfoot Farms, that typically produces a million of the fruit, said: ‘The pumpkins are smaller than we would have liked – 30 per cent smaller is probably not far away.’

But Tesco said it has enough pumpkins to meet ‘record demand’ at stores and that their quality is ‘as good as ever’.

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